[Brmlab] Fw: [sf-lug] fascinating story: How Munich rejected Steve Ballmer and kicked Microsoft out of the city

Mario Lombardo mario at alienscience.com
Sat Nov 23 13:57:30 CET 2013


Please don't apologize.  Freedom is not about being anti-Microsoft.  It's about being free.  I get it. Thanks for sharing :)  Respect to Munich.

/mario

On  23 Nov 13, at 01:06, Frantisek Apfelbeck wrote:

> I can not resist and not to share this email from sf-lug. 
> 
> Many thanks!
>  
> Frantisek Algoldor Apfelbeck
> 
> 
>  -------- Original Message --------
> > Subject: [Linux-ME] How Munich rejected Steve Ballmer and kicked 
> > Microsoft out of the city
> > Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2013 22:02:47 +0400
> > Reply-To: Linux-middleeast at yahoogroups.com
> > To: linux-middleeast at yahoogroups.com
> > 
> > Breaking up with Microsoft is hard to do. Just ask Peter Hofmann, the man
> > leading the City of Munich's project to ditch Windows and Office in favour
> > of open source alternatives.
> > 
> > The project took close to a decade to complete, has seen the city wrestle
> > with legal uncertainties and earned Munich a visit from Microsoft CEO Steve
> > Ballmer, whose pleas to the mayor of Germany's third largest city not to
> > switch fell on deaf ears.
> > 
> > Munich says the move to open source has saved it more than €10m, a
> > claimcontested
> > by 
> > Microsoft<http://www.zdnet.com/no-microsoft-open-source-software-really-is-cheaper-insists-munich-7000010918/>,
> > yet Hofmann says the point of making the switch was never about money, but
> > about freedom.
> > 
> > "If you are only doing a migration because you think it saves you money
> > there's always somebody who tells you afterwards that you didn't calculate
> > it properly," he said.
> > 
> > "Our main goal was to become independent." Peter Hoffman, project lead
> > 
> > "That was the experience of a lot of open source-based projects that have
> > failed," Hofmann noted. They were only cost-driven and when the
> > organisation got more money or somebody else said 'The costs are wrong'
> > then the main reason for doing it had broken away. That was never the main
> > goal within the City of Munich. Our main goal was to become independent."
> > 
> > Munich is used to forging its own path. The city runs its own schools and
> > is one of the few socialist, rather than conservative governments, in
> > Bavaria.
> > [image: Peter Hofmann speaks in Berlin]
> > Peter Hofmann speaks about Munich's open source migration at the Linux Tag
> > conference in Berlin.
> >  Image: Stefan Krempl
> > 
> > Becoming independent meant Munich freeing itself from closed, proprietary
> > software, more specifically the Microsoft Windows NT operating system and
> > the Microsoft Office suite, and a host of other locked-down technologies
> > the city relied on in 2002.
> > 
> > The decision to ditch Microsoft was also born of necessity. In 2002 the
> > council knew official support for Windows NT, the OS used on 14,000 staff
> > machines at the council, would soon run out. The council ordered a study of
> > the merits of switching to XP and Office versus a GNU/Linux OS, OpenOffice
> > and other free software.
> > 
> > As well as being tied to Windows upgrades, Munich faced becoming more
> > tightly locked into the Microsoft ecosystem with each passing year, Hofmann
> > said.
> > 
> > "Windows has developed from a pure PC-centred operating system, like
> > Windows 3.11 was, to a whole infrastructure. If you're staying with
> > Microsoft you're getting more and more overwhelmed to update and change
> > your whole IT infrastructure [to fit with Microsoft]," according to
> > Hofmann, whether that be introducing a Microsoft Active Directory system or
> > running a key management server.
> > 
> > "If you're staying with Microsoft you're getting more and more overwhelmed
> > to update and change your whole IT infrastructure." Peter Hoffman
> > 
> > Free software was ruled the better choice by Munich's ruling body,
> > principally because it would free the council from dependence on any one
> > vendor and future-proof the council's technology stack via open protocols,
> > interfaces and data formats.
> > 
> > The prospect of such a high profile loss, and other organisations following
> > Munich's lead, spurred Microsoft to mount a last ditch campaign to win the
> > authority back. A senior sales executive at the time told general managers
> > in EMEA "under NO circumstances lose against
> > Linux<http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/2003-07-13-microsoft-linux-munich_x.htm>."
> > Steve Ballmer himself took time out of a skiing holiday to make a revised
> > offer in March 2003, followed two months later by Microsoft knocking
> > millions of Euros off the price of sticking with Windows and Office.
> > 
> > The lobbying failed to change Munich's mind, and in June 2004 the council
> > gave the go-ahead to begin the migration from NT and Office 97/2000 to a
> > Linux-based OS, a custom-version of OpenOffice, as well as a variety of
> > free software, such as the Mozilla Firefox browser, Mozilla Thunderbird
> > e-mail client and the Gimp photo editing software. It became known as the
> > LiMux project, after the name for the custom Linux OS the council was
> > rolling out.
> > Making sense of the IT zoo
> > 
> > Nine years is a long time for a desktop migration by anyone's standards,
> > but the LiMux project was always going to be more than a simple transition.
> > [image: Microsoft's Steve Ballmer]
> > Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer came to Munich and made the case for sticking
> > with Microsoft software.
> >  Image: James Martin/CNET
> > 
> > Originally planned as a soft roll out that would be complete by 2011, the
> > project was extended when it became clear that the migration to free
> > software would be more challenging than first thought.
> > 
> > The complexity came down to the way IT was managed at Munich: twenty two
> > different units handling IT for different parts of the council and each
> > with differences in the Windows clients and other software they used,
> > varying patch levels and no common directory, user, system or hardware
> > management.
> > 
> > "[The council] had 22 different units with their own IT, with totally
> > different kinds of systems for the networking, operating and user
> > directories. It was all a big zoo,” said Hofmann, adding there was no
> > detailed overview of the hardware each user relied upon or the software
> > they needed to do their job.
> > 
> > Without a clear picture of its IT estate, Munich found it was taking too
> > long to deal with unexpected problems thrown up when rolling out LiMux.
> > 
> > "If you set up an old PC with the new system you'd start recognising
> > 'Whoops, that isn't there or there's hardware that needs to be
> > reconfigured' and at that stage that's clearly too late. You have to know
> > what's going on before you roll it out."
> > 
> > "We planned a slow migration, carrying out the migration and the
> > development of our LiMux client in parallel." Peter Hoffman
> > 
> > Munich chose to standardise processes for capturing each department's
> > infrastructure and requirements and for testing and release management, at
> > the cost of adding several years to the project's completion date.
> > 
> > "That took a large amount of time to get over these heterogeneous systems,"
> > said Hofmann.
> > 
> > A single unit was put in charge of maintaining and supporting the LiMux
> > client, as well as implementing and providing common tools for user and
> > system management.
> > 
> > The nature of the project had changed, from a desktop migration to cleaning
> > up much of Munich's IT infrastructure and the way it was managed – a move
> > in keeping with the council's motto for the project: "Quality over time".
> > 
> > In spite of the delay in completing the project, Hofmann said the authority
> > had always planned to take its time.
> > 
> > "We never planned to carry out a big bang migration. From the start we
> > planned a slow migration, carrying out the migration and the development of
> > our LiMux client in parallel."
> > [image: LiMux logo]
> > Munich focused on The IT Evolution as the logo for its custom Linux
> > platform.
> > 
> > The time taken to complete the project is one of many reasons that
> > Microsoft has attacked Munich's move to LiMux. Areport criticising the
> > project<http://www.scribd.com/doc/122167337/Studie-OSS-Strategie-der-Stadt-Munchen-v1-0-Zusammenfassung>,
> > produced by HP for Microsoft, claimed the Redmond software giant could
> > migrate 50 to 500 desktop PCs per day if upgrading to a Microsoft OS and
> > office, suite compared to the eight per day it said was being achieved
> > under the LiMux project.
> > 
> > However, by Hofmann's reckoning, that slow and steady migration is one of
> > the reasons the project has largely managed to stay within its budget with
> > minimal disruption. The project finished within budget in October 2013,
> > with more than 14,800 staff migrated to using Limux and more than 15,000 to
> > OpenOffice.
> > Retooling for Linux
> > 
> > A myriad technical challenges emerged as Munich tried to reconfigure an
> > infrastructure littered with proprietary formats and protocols to play
> > nicely with LiMux and free software.
> > 
> > Large chunks of the software used by the council were built using Microsoft
> > technologies. For example, a sizeable proportion of Microsoft Office macros
> > were written in Microsoft's programming language Visual Basic, while other
> > departments were tied to Internet Explorer by a dependence on ActiveX. This
> > preponderance of lock-in interfaces was described as "awful" in 2010 by
> > then deputy head of the LiMux project Florian Schiessl.
> > [image: LiMux screenshot]
> > This screenshot of LiMux shows the major customization that Munich has done
> > to Ubuntu.
> > 
> > As would be expected, the council has had to shell out a chunk of change on
> > getting applications to work on LiMux – a custom-build of the Ubuntu flavor
> > of Linux – some €774,000 as of last year.
> > 
> > At the time the migration started, the council used about 300 common office
> > software programs, such as web browsers and e-mail clients, and 170
> > specialised apps tailored to different roles performed by the council.
> > These specialised apps ranged from large-scale IT systems down to macros
> > and templates linked to Microsoft Office.
> > 
> > Understandably, migrating these apps to run on the LiMux OS is one of the
> > areas where choosing LiMux over Windows cost Munich, with the work on
> > migrating apps to LiMux costing €200,000 more than porting them to a newer
> > version of Windows.
> > 
> > Offsetting that is the estimated €6.8 million savings the council says it
> > had made as of last year from not having to licence a new Microsoft OS and
> > office suite.
> > 
> > The lion's share of Munich's applications, about 90 per cent, are
> > accessible via LiMux. Most have been ported, while others are running as
> > web apps, inside virtualised containers or via terminal servers.
> > 
> > A small number of apps have proven impossible to port, make accessible or
> > switch away from – particularly software whose use is mandated by the
> > German government – and have to be run directly on Windows machines.
> > 
> > While the council has weaned itself off the majority of Microsoft
> > technologies, Munich still experiences friction where it rubs against
> > proprietary software in widespread use elsewhere.
> > 
> > "We thought from the start we would have other organisations follow us but
> > it's really not easy." Peter Hoffman
> > 
> > One of the main complaints from Munich staff using LiMux and OpenOffice is
> > about incompatibilities with Microsoft Office. Documents, spreadsheets and
> > other files display some fonts, pictures and layouts differently in
> > OpenOffice than in Microsoft Office, and changes to some documents are not
> > properly logged.
> > 
> > Munich hopes to ease some of these problems by moving all its OpenOffice
> > users to LibreOffice, a process which will get underway at the end of this
> > year. Munich has worked with other users of LibreOffice, including
> > authorities in the German city of Freiburg and the Austrian capital Vienna,
> > to pay for updates to LibreOffice that should improve interoperability with
> > Microsoft's office suite.
> > 
> > The complexity of moving from proprietary software after years of being a
> > Microsoft shop might explain why more organisations haven't followed in
> > Munich's footsteps, and why some, like the German municipality of Freiburg,
> > have given up on their own shift to open source. Last year Freiburg
> > scrapped plans to move to OpenOffice claiming it would have cost up to €250
> > per seat to resolve interoperability issues.
> > 
> > "We thought from the start we would have other organisations follow us but
> > it's really not easy," said Hofmann.
> > Cost
> > 
> > Hofmann's warning against justifying the jump to free software on cost
> > alone seems well-grounded given how hotly Microsoft has contested costings
> > for the programme.
> > 
> > Microsoft claims that, by its estimation, the LiMux project would have cost
> > considerably more than Munich has said. The HP report for Microsoft put the
> > project's price at €60.6m, far more than the €17m Microsoft claimed it
> > would have cost to shift to Windows XP and a newer version of Microsoft
> > Office.
> > [image: LiMux migration timeline]
> > 
> > Munich stands by its assertion that it has cost the council less to drop
> > Microsoft than it would have to have stuck with it, and says Microsoft's
> > figures are based on bogus assumptions.
> > 
> > The final cost will be released at the end of 2013, but in August 2013
> > Munich said it had cost €23m to shift to LiMux and OpenOffice. Munich says
> > this is far less than the estimated €34m it said it would have cost to
> > upgrade to Windows 7 and newer versions of Microsoft Office.
> > 
> > Where does the truth lie? Well Munich makes a good case for why much of the
> > work carried out during the LiMux project would have been necessary if the
> > council had decided to opt for a newer version of Windows, and how it has
> > saved money on top.
> > 
> > By choosing to swap to LiMux and OpenOffice Munich was able to keep using
> > its old PCs for longer, something that Hofmann said would not have been
> > possible if it had chosen some of the recent versions of Microsoft Office
> > and Windows 7.
> > 
> > Extending the lifespan of its PCs in this way had saved the council some
> > €4.6m as of last year, according to its official figures.
> > 
> > And by Munich's reckoning, the same standardisation of the council's tech
> > infrastructure and administration would have eventually been necessary
> > whatever the OS and office suite chosen, said Hofmann.
> > [image: LiMux workstations chart]
> > 
> > Training thousands of the council's staff to use a new OS and software is
> > another area where Munich believes the council would have faced equivalent
> > costs for both Microsoft and LiMux – claiming it would have set them back
> > €1.69m regardless of the system.
> > 
> > "If we would have switched to Microsoft Office, the costs for the
> > e-learning platform would have been the same, and the new GUI for MS Office
> > would have required the same amount of training," said Hofmann.
> > 
> > "[In fact] the GUI in OpenOffice is much more like MS Office 2000 than the
> > new MS Office GUI."
> > 
> > Similarly the €6.1m bill for personnel to oversee the migration process
> > would have remained the same regardless of whether the council moved to
> > LiMux or a future Windows OS, in Munich's estimation. Currently up to 18
> > people work at any one time work on development and maintenance tasks
> > relating to the operating system and office software for LiMux and Windows.
> > Freedom to work
> > 
> > While many businesses might balk at the thought of not having a support
> > contract to pick up the pieces when their OS and office software goes
> > wrong, Munich feels far from adrift, said Hofmann.
> > [image: Munich's Victory Gate]
> > Victory Gate is a symbol of the City of Munich. Its Linux migration
> > declared victory in October 2013.
> >  Image: iStockphoto/tzeiler
> > 
> > A team of just 25 people at Munich develop, roll out and provide final
> > support for the Ubuntu-based LiMux client. A larger number of people look
> > after the everyday administration of the city's PCs but far fewer than the
> > 1,000 people cited in the Microsoft/HP report as implementing the LiMux
> > project.
> > 
> > The authority doesn't have a support deal for the LiMux client, but instead
> > handles support itself with the help of various free software communities,
> > such as those supporting Ubuntu, KDE, LibreOffice and OpenOffice.
> > 
> > "We are using the community way of support," said Hofmann. "We are finding
> > it to be effective, mostly."
> > 
> > The model is allowing the council to help develop the software it uses in
> > order that it better suit its needs.
> > 
> > "If you're only a customer with a support contract, it doesn't give you the
> > ability to change how things are put into Ubuntu or LibreOffice," said
> > Hofmann.
> > 
> > "That becomes more possible when you work with the community."
> > 
> > "We are using the community way of support." Peter Hoffman
> > 
> > The same staff who develop LiMux are also responsible for the last level of
> > support, Hofmann said, adding the authority prizes the freedom it has to
> > work out how to resolve problems on its own.
> > 
> > "We had an issue with OpenOffice in the past and a support contract
> > wouldn't have helped us because nobody else has this sort of problem, so we
> > would have had the choice to live with it or forget about it," said Hofmann.
> > 
> > Instead Munich paid a company to resolve the issue for them, and put the
> > patch upstream.
> > 
> > "The only downside is there's no-one to blame when things do go wrong, but
> > what's the advantage of that?" Hofmann said.
> > What does the future hold?
> > 
> > Now that the migration to LiMux is complete, Munich plans to continue
> > developing LiMux (the next version is due out in summer 2014) and continue
> > to incorporate changes made to the Ubuntu LTS release it's based upon. The
> > authority will also continue to identify opportunities to migrate other
> > apps to run on the LiMux client so it can further reduce its Microsoft
> > footprint.
> > [image: Picturesque Munich]
> > Picturesque Munich is regularly ranked as one of the world's most liveable
> > cities.
> >  Image: iStockphoto/Björn Kindler
> > 
> > 
> > Now that Munich is on a path to freeing itself from proprietary ties,
> > Hofmann says he sees no compelling reason for the authority to ever go back.
> > 
> > "We saw from the start that if you're only relying on one contributor to
> > supply your operating system, your office system and your infrastructure,
> > you're stuck with it. You have to do what your contributor tells you to. If
> > they say 'There's no longer support for your office version', you have to
> > buy and implement a new one. You're no longer able to make those kinds of
> > decisions by yourself."
> > 
> > He is hopeful that Munich will show other large organisations that it is
> > possible to make the jump to free software and, while it is a difficult and
> > time-consuming process, making it happen doesn't mean shutting down your IT.
> > 
> > "It's the best thing you can do. I've been asked 'How come you say you're
> > up and running when Microsoft says you're already dead'," he said.
> > 
> > Hofmann's response: "It is possible to do an open source migration and
> > still have the citizens not left alone. We're far from being dead."
> > 
> > http://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-munich-rejected-steve-ballmer-and-kicked-microsoft-out-of-the-city/?tag=nl.e101&s_cid=e101&ttag=e101&ftag=TRE684d531
> > 
> > 
> 
> 
> 
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